Tuesday, March 31, 2009

City of Ember

Sometimes there are just certain books that I read and I have to let others know that they exist. This is exactly what just happened.

The City of Ember (the book, not the movie) is actually the first in a series of four books, The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold.

It's hard to explain all the reasons I love these books without giving away anything. So here's the generic reason to read these books. *

They are a wonderful tool to use to talk with your children about many different issues: truth, courage, responsibility, death, family, relationships, proper conduct, etc.

Books 1,2,4 are books I plan to read with my children and talk about things, but they are safe enough to be given to them to read on their own (remember, this is my opinion).

Book 3 I believe deal with much deaper issues that are best left for parents and children to read closely together. They are not "mature" issues, but things like, discerning between truth and lies, childish dreams, etc.

If you can get hold these books, I would very much recommend reading them.*


*I do recommend these books, however, I also firmly believe that each family has to make its own decisions as to what is appropriate. If you have any doubts, please talk to the head of your household and follow their direction.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How to begin a project

Tiffany is starting out on a big project and she has asked me to help her. So here's how you begin a project

First thing to do is layout your pattern pieces on newly ironed fabric (Tiffany didn't want to do this, but if you've read the right books* you know that you should always iron).
Check to make sure you have all your tools. (Hint: You may have to prickle up your forhead to make sure they don't go anywhere)
Then make look around to make sure you're alone. (Tiffany doesn't count....she always comes in exactly when I'd rather be sleeping. Though I was a little suspicious at first this time, she had a big black thing, bigger than me, up to her face.....but humans can be strange like that.)

Then make sure you check the markings, so that all is in place.

At this point in the project, I had to wonder why there was another pin cushion, when I usually carry all my pins around with me. Must be another unexplainable human thing. It's very hard work getting ready to cut things out. (I think I now know why this is Tiffany's least favorite part of sewing.) So the next thing to do is to take a rest.

I'll keep you all posted on our** progress

Mrs. TiggyWinkle (with Tiffany)

*ie, The Tale of Mrs. TiggyWinkle

**Tiffany is trying to take some of the credit for all of this. I think it might be best to just let her.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And so it begins

As I've said before, we're going to England this September. Well, one of the days in London we're dressing to go to one of the places. So I decided to make a hisortical dress for that day. I knew I was already taking a Regency gown, so I really wanted something from another time period. I settled on the 1850s because 1) you don't need hoops, 2) I like the silhouette, and 3) I found this dress:

When I first saw the dress, I was in love. But not wanting to get too excited I searched for patterns to see if there was anything close that could be adjusted. I allowed myself to get ecstatic when I found this pattern:

With a few adjustments, I think this will be perfect.

I'm going to try to keep a diary of a dress for this project.

Let the fun begin!


Clever and respectful

I was reading The Retro Housewife blog and read this very clever post she had received in an e-mail.


A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, "Let me explain the problem science has with religion." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

"You're a Christian, aren't you, son?"
"Yes sir," the student says.

"So you believe in God?"

"Is God good?"
"Sure! God's good."

"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"

"Are you good or evil?"
"The Bible says I'm evil."

The professor grins knowingly. "Aha! The Bible!" He considers for a moment. "Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?"
"Yes sir, I would."

"So you're good...!"
"I wouldn't say that."

"But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't."

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. "He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?"
The student remains silent.

"No, you can't, can you?" the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

"Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?"
"Er...yes," the student says.

"Is Satan good?"
The student doesn't hesitate on this one. "No."

"Then where does Satan come from?"
The student falters. "From God"

"That's right.. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"
"Yes, sir."

"Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?"

"So who created evil?"

The professor continued, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil."

Again, the student has no answer.

"Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?"
The student squirms on his feet. "Yes."

"So who created them?"

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. "Who created them?" There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. "Tell me," he continues onto another student. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?"

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. "Yes, professor, I do."

The old man stops pacing. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"
"No sir. I've never seen Him."

"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"
"No, sir, I have not."

"Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"
"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."

"Yet you still believe in him?"

"According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?"

"Nothing," the student replies. "I only have my faith.""Yes, faith," the professor repeats. "And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith."

At the back of the room another student stands quietly for a moment before asking a question of His own. "Professor, is there such thing as heat?"

"Yes," the professor replies. "There's heat."

"And is there such a thing as cold?"
"Yes, son, there's cold too."
"No sir, there isn't."

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. "You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees."

"Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

"What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?"

"Yes," the professor replies without hesitation. "What is night if it isn't darkness?"

"You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word."

"In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?"

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. "So what point are you making, young man?"

"Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed."

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. "Flawed? Can you explain how?"

"You are working on the premise of duality," the student explains. "You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought."

"It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it."

"Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?"
"If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do."

"Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?"

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

"Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?"

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

"To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean."

The student looks around the room. "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?" The class breaks out into laughter.

"Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelled the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir."

"So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?"

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. "I guess you'll have to take them on faith."

"Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life," the student continues. "Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?"

Now uncertain, the professor responds, "Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hold on Just a Minute!

What in the world happened to March!? It seems like just yesterday we changed the Month on our calendar and the students were reciting last month's Bible passage. And now, we're almost done this month!

Well, looking back, I guess there has been a lot to keep me busy:

Play rehearsing

Costume finding


Lesson planning

Hedgehog caring

P/T conferencing

Report carding

and my favorite


Well, here's to the last few days of this month.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Psalm 47

This is the passage that the students had to recite today (if you've never seen a little four year old recite Scripture, go out and find one to teach it to. They are so dear!). As I read it and listened to it (6 times:-) I was so blessed and wanted to pass it on to you.

Psalm 47
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.
He will subdue the peoples under us,
And the nations under our feet.
He will choose our inheritance for us,
The excellence of Jacob whom He loves.
God has gone up with a shout,
The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding.
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.
The princes of the people have gathered together,
The people of the God of Abrahom.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is greatly exalted.